More on Bullies, From President Obama

Well, then-aspiring-author Obama, rather.  Dr. Althouse is reading more around the dog-eating tract that has gotten so much attention.
The man pulled the blade across the bird’s neck in a single smooth motion. Blood shot out in a long, crimson ribbon. The man stood up, holding the bird far away from his body, and suddenly tossed it high into the air. It landed with a thud, then struggled to its feet, its head lolling grotesquely against its side, its legs pumping wildly in a wide, wobbly circle. I watched as the circle grew smaller, the blood trickling down to a gurgle, until finally the bird collapsed, lifeless....  Later, lying alone beneath a mosquito net canopy, I listened to the crickets chirp under the moonlight and remembered the last twitch of life that I’d witnessed a few hours before. I could barely believe my good fortune.
Why does the boy — as remembered by the man — connect the killing of the bird to his own good fortune? Is it some elemental realization that simply to be alive is amazing, the bird being dead? Or is he excited to be in this new place with lots of thrilling new activities like beheading a bird and shortly thereafter eating it? Or is it the connection to the father figure, who's so eager to show the boy what life is really about and so easily overcomes the reticence of the mother? The next thing that happens in the book is that Lolo teaches him how to deal with bullies: Don't cry over the lump where he hit you with a rock; learn boxing. Lolo buys boxing gloves for him and teaches him to "keep moving, but always stay low—don’t give them a target." Good advice!  And it's on the very next page that Lolo teaches him to eat dog (and snake) meat.... The point is:  Life was a big adventure. And meat was part of the adventure — meat from real animals that lived and died.
Doubtless the President would agree with our advice, then:  the way to deal with bullies is to teach them to fear your own strength, not to whine, and to learn to fight smarter and better than they do.

Also, never to believe in clean hands.


raven said...

Legend has it that Hugh Glass survived on the rotten carcass of a elk after having his face removed by a grizzly and being left for dead, weaponless, in Blackfoot country.
That would take a hungry man and a cast iron stomach! He was a tough guy, IIRC he went to the grave with near a dozen arrow points in him.

bthun said...

I always enjoy reading clean hands.

"Doubtless the President would agree with our advice, then: the way to deal with bullies is to teach them to fear your own strength, not to whine, and to learn to fight smarter and better than they do. "

And yet, every single, stinking time I see and/or hear I Won, he whining about the shortcoming of a predecessor, the Congress, the conceptually challenged public, or someone/something somewhere over there. Where apparently the mythical buck stops, somewhere over there...

Grim said...


I wonder if you know this old song?


It's a strange thing that his upbringing and education -- as stated by his book -- has so small an effect on his apparent attitudes and actions. I'd even say it was remarkable.